The Art of Dying

There was a time when we used to forgive others for their biggest blunders. It was easy for us to forget it in an instant, but today we are unable to forget and/or forgive others for even the smallest of things.

We tend to hold onto things forever, particularly when they aren’t helping us now. We think about their past actions and tend to keep playing that tape in our head instead of focusing on the present.

We hold onto past expectations and memories by holding on to mental images (of how others should be) in our minds. When they don’t match with how we idealize them in our minds, we create a chasm between how things are and how they should be, and things only go downhill from there. The other problem is we think talking to others about things that weigh us down will make it go away and make us feel better, but it never does.

We might have things on our mind of which we aren’t even aware. We might find it hard to even recollect if pressed to think about it, but the soul holds onto them in a subtle way. The more matters we hold on to, the heavier our souls become.

For some, we may have less-than-fond memories of incidents from our childhood that have forever stayed in our minds, but they go on to shape our paradigms and worldviews nonetheless. For instance, if a parent scolded a child in front of their friends, it might be difficult for them to forget it even later in life. If we don’t let go of it now, we risk carrying it forward in our journey.

We need to live our lives in such a way that when we leave this world, the soul remains light on its journey forward. We need to settle our karmic accounts, which is called the art of dying. One who has learned the art of dying has automatically learned the art of living because we are living each day with an awareness that any moment can be our final moment. It means no matter how much harm someone may have caused you, you have enough power within yourself to leave it in an instant.

Holding onto things from the past is akin to holding a glass of water in your hand. At some point, the glass feels heavy and continuing to hold it is difficult. The more things we hold onto, the more our soul power diminishes.

One reason it’s hard for us to let go of things is because we believe that we haven’t chosen to hold on to this glass. We think others have put that glass in our hands and that only they can take it away. We believe that the glass is in our hands because of what they did. They have to change. They have to apologize. They have to do something for the glass to be put down. This is why we continue to eternally hold the glass. We think others are responsible for our problems. The glass is simply a metaphor for the mental weight we carry.

The problem is if we don’t put this glass down today, when it’s time to leave the world, we will take this weight with us. It’s not just for our happiness and well-being today, but also in our next life.

Imagine you have only a few hours to live. How would you spend this time? We can forgive others for their past actions and seek forgiveness. In order to leave peacefully, we must let go of our past. The thing is if we have not been able to let go of things during our lifetime, it’s hard to let go of them now. This cannot be a last-minute practice — it has to be a way of life. Letting go has to be a way of living and means keeping our life compact rather than scattered.

We live with the understanding that on our final day, we cannot forgive and forget. We need to forgive, forget, and let go every moment. Over time, this becomes so natural that we don’t have to make any effort to forgive anymore. Forgiveness just becomes a natural way of living.

We cannot practice the art of dying without learning to detach ourselves. We must realize that the karma of others is their choice. Our thoughts and behavior are our choice (which is untouched by situations and people). As long as we are focused on ourselves, they will have no influence on you. When we start to detach ourselves, we automatically start to practice the art of dying.

Sit down and reflect on things you have held on from earlier. Detach and see the other person’s perspective. We cannot let go until we are detached. Detach from your perspective and see it from their view. We need to question their intention, not just their action.

For some reason, we believe that holding on to things is easy, while letting go of them is hard, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the opposite couldn’t be more true. Isn’t it easier to set a glass down rather than holding it? It can be just as easy to hold something for a long period as it is to instantly let go.

It’s easy for us to get attached to our past, the guilt we carry, the expectations we have from others, the mental images we create in our minds, and the idea that only our view is right.

The first thing to let go of is the past. The next thing to let go of is guilt. Then, expectations. Let go of your ideas and your image. Let go of how you think people should behave with you. Most importantly, let go of the desire to always be right. Stop getting attached to ideas. For instance, in the recent past, one of the ways I identified myself was as an INFJ, but now I treat it simply as a result of a test and nothing more.

What are some things that you keep reliving from your past that you can’t change? Other people may not feel they did anything wrong despite us believing they did. Now, we can continue holding on to the glass or set it down. We don’t have to spend our present thinking about our past; we can’t drive forward looking in the rear-view mirror. We have all the power we need to let go of things for our own sanity.

We carry guilt by focusing on how we failed at something or how others might be suffering a loss because of us. The only thing this guilt does is deplete our soul power. Although our intentions may have been right, we still made mistakes. Realize it’s in the past and don’t make the mistake a second time. You have to learn to forgive yourself and move on. There is no point in holding onto guilt.

We often get attached to our ideas and create an image for ourselves which informs how others should behave with us because this is who we are. When there is a mismatch between our image and what others think of us, we will forever be unhappy.

We set expectations on friends and family as to how they should behave with us. Our spouse should be this way and children should be that way, our colleague should be this way, while our parent should be that way. When we create these mental images of these people in our minds, we are unable to accept others for who they are (regardless of how good they may be) because it’s a mismatch between them and the visuals we carry in our mind. This creates problems in our relationships. We need to accept others for who they are rather than think or complain about who they are not.

We need to let go of this need to always be right. It doesn’t matter if something is right and/or good. If we are attached to it, we cannot understand other people, let alone accept their ideas, because our mind has already decided that we are right, which implicitly makes their ideas wrong. We need to let go of the belief that our ideas or advice should be universally accepted. In order for us to be right, others don’t have to be wrong (and vice-versa). Two people can see the same thing and reach different conclusions, and that’s completely okay.

For some reason, it’s easy for us to explain things to others in an attempt to let go of things, to forget, and to move on. Why is it when it comes to ourselves we find doing the same so difficult? We need to talk to ourselves with love in order to release things and become light in the same way we talk to our friends when we advise them. This means we need to start taking care of ourselves every day. We need to use love and self-discipline. We need to love ourselves first so we can nurture others, but more on that in the next draft.

Remind yourself your actions are not dependent on others’ actions. What other people do is their choice and karma, and what you do is yours. That means we need to send them love through our thoughts particularly when we don’t receive any love from them.

If we can die any moment, we always need to remain light, happy, and powerful. We have to let go of “things” that are weighing us down and holding us back. That means letting go of things and not dwelling on the past. Forgiving others has to be constantly practiced until it becomes second nature. They don’t have to know we forgave them. If we keep things in our mind and leave this world with them, the soul will carry that forward in its journey.

The last thing we want is to leave the world with things weighing us down. We need to settle our karmic accounts. Accept, adapt, and strive to become flexible. This will increase our power to let go of things. Remember, no matter how long we may have held onto something, it only takes an instant to let go of it.

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